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(Pocket-lint) - Volkswagen has pulled the covers off the ID.3, stripped away the camouflage, and revealed the model that's driving VW into the future.

On the surface this is the launch of an electric car VW hopes will have the same sort of impact that the Beetle or the Golf did. But while we marvel at the new design lines, the radically revised interior and the choice of battery sizes, there's a lot more going on.

Pocket-lintVw Id3 image 2

VW held little back at the official launch at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It was VW that was hauled over the coals in dieselgate a few years back and there's the sense that ID.3 is the phoenix rising. VW took to the stage and stressed the importance of reducing emissions - not just from the tailpipe, but from the whole business.

Framed as a responsibility that comes with being such a colossal car manufacturer - and stating that 1 per cent of all global carbon emissions come from VW cars - the revising of the badge reinforces that impression that VW wants to be seen as the new VW.

Pocket-lintVw Id3 image 4

The ID.3 claims to be a carbon neutral car, with VW saying that all the energy that goes into its production is from renewable sources. 

We'd all got a good sense of how the ID.3 would look and VW even went to the lengths of advertising the new car on prime time TV (in the UK at least) before it was even launched. So this is a big deal - unprecedented even.

The VW ID.3 is a compact hatch, with a range of battery sizes on offer - 45kWh, 58kWh, 77kWh. At the top end you'll get 550km (340 miles), but the launch 1st Edition sits on the 58kWh battery offering 420km (260 miles). It will charge at up to 100kW rates, meaning you'll be able to get great range from a short charge - if you can find a rapid charger.

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The ID.3 brings a new look to VW's compact section, but a strong crease along the shoulders remind you exactly what you're looking at, but with the battery in the floor, a shorter and stubbier nose brings a modern look to the ID.3. 

Pocket-lintVw Id3 image 5

It's in the interior where things really change - and there's a lot of technology being showcased for this new car (although we're not clear on what you get and what you don't). The layout of the interior is drastically different, breaking out from a dash that's basically the same across all VW's ICE models, although you'll still spot familiar, comforting, elements - so it's not totally alien.

The new interior the driver display becoming a little more minimalist, the central display rising in its positioning in the centre of the car. One of the most exciting demos at the launch was the new augmented reality (AR) navigation directions which can be projected onto the interior of the windscreen. That will place those instructions right in your eyeline, blending the real and digital worlds, to make sure you pick the right lane and make the right turns.

Pocket-lintVw Id3 image 3

So there's a lot resting on the ID.3, even if VW did take the time to tease the next device launch in spring 2020 as this huge electric offensive rolls out. Pre-orders for the ID.3 have been open for some time and those will soon become binding, meaning you'll actually have to pay.

And that's the elusive detail that still remains: the base ID.3 will cost "under €30,000" (£26k), the 1st edition will cost "under €40,000" (£36k). Exactly what you'll be asked to pay in the UK remains to be seen, but this certainly is an exciting new chapter for VW.

Writing by Chris Hall.